Walk in the Footsteps of Sir John A. McDonald

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Sunday, September 26, 2010

The city of Kingston, Ontario was the first capital of the Province of Canada. It was also the where the first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. McDonald grew up and attended school, opened his law practice and served on the town council.

               While visiting this historic city, be sure to take a cruise in the 1000 Islands area, visit city hall, visit the Military College, check out the campus at Queen's University, go to the Pen, attend fright night at Fort Henry, tour city hall and visit the gravesite of Sir John A.


Cruise the 1000 Islands

From the northeast corner of Lake Ontario stretching 50 miles into the St. Lawrence River is an archipelago of islands called the 1000 islands.  The islands, which actually number 1793, range in size from over 40 square miles to tiny uninhabited rock outcroppings.  Cruises leaving from the Kingston harbor are available to those wanting to see this popular camping and boating area.  Specialty local wine tasting cruises and dinner cruises are also available.

Visit the Military College

The Royal Military College of Canada is the only federal institution in Canada with degree granting powers. Established in 1876, the military academy of the Canadian Forces prepares officer-cadets for a career in the military.

Check out Queen's University

Formed in 1841 with a royal charter from Queen Victoria, Queen’s University is one of the top universities in Canada.  It was the first Canadian university west of the Maritime Provinces to grant degrees, admit women and form a student government. With 94 countries represented in the student body, Queen’s prides itself on being an international institution.

Go to the Pen

The biggest employer in Kingston is government and one of the largest government departments is the federal Ministry of Correctional Services. 

The Kingston Penitentiary, a maximum security facility opened in 1835, is one of the world’s oldest continuously used prisons.  Over the years it has been home to some of Canada’s most dangerous and notorious criminals including Paul Bernardo, charged alongside his wife Karla Homolka for a slew of killings and rapes and Clifford Olson who confessed to murdering two children and nine youths.

Medium security prison Collins Bay Institution is also located in Kingston.  Opened in 1930, the facility (that looks more like a Disney castle than a prison) houses 240 male offenders.

Attend Fright Night at Fort Henry

Fort Henry was built by the British in the 1830’s to protect the Rideau Canal from American attack. Today the UNESCO World Heritage Site acts as a major tourist attraction where costumed Fort Henry Guards conduct demonstrations of British military life including historical reenactments of drills and battle tactics.

From September 22 until Halloween night, the fort is transformed into a haunted fortress where guest can ride in a coffin and wander through the dungeons amongst skeletons, ghouls and things that go bump in the night.


Tour City Hall

Learn about Kingston’s history on a guided tour of the City Hall where you can view a rare collection of paintings, photographs and sculptures as well as see Sir John A’s original writing desk.

Pay Respect to Sir John A. McDonald

Sir John A. McDonald died of a stroke at the age 76.  His June 9, 1891 funeral was attended by hundreds of thousands of people.  He was laid to rest in the Cataraqui Cemetery where his grave is marked with a plaque and a Canadian flag.

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